THE Commonwealth Government’s Illicit Tobacco Taskforce has found more than one million cigarettes in an air cargo shipment from Korea declared as “mini massagers”.
On Saturday 19 October, ABF officers inspected the shipment which, contrary to the declaration, contained nothing other than 5,000 cartons of cigarettes.
A total of 1,094,000 cigarettes were seized, weighing more than one tonne, representing more than $1.1m in evaded duty and GST.
The consignor had made no effort to conceal the cigarettes.Investigations are ongoing.
On 1 July 2019, it became illegal for anyone to import tobacco without a permit.
Tobacco can no longer be imported via the mail stream.
ABF Acting Commander Special Investigations, Chris White said the detection was another example of the ITTF’s commitment to disrupting illicit tobacco supply.
“This means the profit from the illegal sale of more than one million cigarettes has not made it into the coffers of organised crime” Acting Commander White said.
“Australians who buy illicit tobacco should be aware that the proceeds of these sales are supporting a market dominated by criminal syndicates that use the profits from illicit tobacco to fund other illegal activities.”
Assistant Minister for Customs Jason Wood MP, thanked the ITTF and the ABF for their efforts.
“No matter how hard criminal organisations try to smuggle illicit goods into our country, Australian Border Force will always be there to protect our community,” Assistant Minister Wood said. The maximum penalty for tobacco smuggling is 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to five times the amount of duty evaded.